Monday, April 6, 2009

In Memorium

Paul J. Sciullo II

Eric Kelly

Stephen J. Mahlye

By Mike Wereschagin, Chris Togneri and Jill King Greenwood

One was a mentor and a model for other officers. Another filled the same role for his two young daughters. The third, a gifted but modest athlete, was described as a "regular guy" from Bloomfield.

Paul J. Sciullo II, 37, and Stephen J. Mayhle, who turned 29 on Friday, had been with the department fewer than two years when they responded to a domestic dispute call Saturday morning in Stanton Heights. Eric Kelly, 41, was driving home to his family when he heard the call and decided to back up the younger officers.

As a city mourns its fallen defenders, the men are remembered by those whose lives they touched.

Stephen J. Mayhle

Stephen J. Mayhle drew happiness from a well of faith and family, and friends were drawn to him.

"He lit up a room. He came into the room and, if you weren't smiling, he just about forced you to smile. He loved to cut up," said his uncle, the Rev. Dan Mayhle, pastor of West View Wesleyan Church in Knoxville, Tenn. "Sometimes, it seemed endless."

From the homeowners whose lawns he landscaped in eastern Tennessee years ago to the people in the Highland Park apartment building where he lived for about a year, those who knew Mayhle remember first his jovial, easy nature.

"He was a wonderful person," said James McCall, a building guard in Parklane, the Highland Park apartment complex where Mayhle, his wife Shandra, and daughters Jennifer, 6, and Brooklynn, 3, lived until moving to Brookline about two months ago.

McCall greeted Mayhle in the mornings, after the officer's shift at the nearby Zone 5 station ended. A sports fan, Mayhle would chat for a few moments about a Pirates or Steelers game, or the shift he'd just completed, before going upstairs to his girls.

"He was a fun daddy," Dan Mayhle said. "He was the kind of daddy that got down on the floor and played with his kids."

With those he didn't know, Mayhle could seem quiet, his uncle said.

Even though McCall spoke with him nearly every day, he didn't know Mayhle was training to be a police officer in 2007 until he walked into the lobby wearing his uniform on the way to his first day of work, McCall said. Mayhle was beaming.

The job fulfilled a dream Mayhle had since high school, said Larry Muir, principal of Indiana Wesleyan School in Dixonville. Mayhle graduated from the Methodist school with Muir's daughter in 1998. Mayhle joined student council and the yearbook committee.

"He was an excellent student -- just a jovial, life-of-the-party type person," Muir said. "He had always wanted to be involved in law enforcement."

After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Mayhle moved to Tennessee and joined his extended family's landscaping and lawn care business. Soon, he became majority owner and took the business to a new level, Dan Mayhle said. His clients remember him, and at least a dozen called Dan Mayhle during the past two days.

"One woman just broke down in tears, in our community here, and said, 'This can't be our Stephen,' " Dan Mayhle said. Those he met were drawn by "the wholesomeness that Stephen represented. There was nothing sinister about him. There was nothing underhanded. His love for life was just genuine."

Dan Mayhle said his nephew's character and sense of justice might have helped save the life of the man charged with killing him. Police apprehended Richard Poplawski alive.

"What a presence of mind these guys had, to control themselves and restrain themselves," Dan Mayhle said. "And I thought, 'What a tribute to Stephen.' It's how he would have handled it."

Paul J. Sciullo II

As Palm Sunday worshippers settled into pews at Immaculate Conception Church in Bloomfield, the Rev. John Dinello said a special prayer for Paul J. Sciullo II and his parents.

"In life you are never completely safe," Dinello said. "Many of you are their neighbors. Let us remember them today in our prayers."

Outside on Liberty Avenue, black ribbons hung from telephone poles in the business district of Bloomfield, the predominantly Italian neighborhood Sciullo called home his entire life.

Sciullo went to the former St. Joseph's grade school in Bloomfield, and Central Catholic High School in Oakland. He played hockey and golf there and was a varsity captain in the 1990-1991 season.

After graduating, he enrolled at Duquesne University and excelled in hockey there, too.

"He's a great guy, just an all-around great guy," said Frank DePhillips, a bartender at Lot 17 on Liberty Avenue where Sciullo often visited with friends.

"He loved being a cop," DePhillips said, struggling to maintain his composure. "Everyone here was his friend. I've gotten calls all morning from people who used to play hockey with him. They can't believe it. I can't believe it."

Sciullo was 2005 club champion at River Forest Country Club in northwestern Westmoreland County where he held a 2 or 3 handicap, said Herman Tomer, River Forest president.

"He and his father would come out with guys from Bloomfield," Tomer said. "He was so quiet, so unassuming. He was a heck of an athlete, a quiet and true gentleman. He's the kind of player that would call a penalty shot on himself if warranted."

Sciullo often played Saturdays and Sundays with the Swats, a group of the club's better golfers.

After joining the police department in 2007, he "didn't play a lot" last year because of the demands of being new on the job, Tomer said.

"He loved his job. ... Everyone was absolutely shocked" when news of his death spread through the clubhouse.

He won the club championship at Alcoma Golf Course in Penn Hills in 2003.

"He was a terrific athlete and a great golfer," said Stanley Ostrowski, Sciullo's friend and a regular at Alcoma. "He wasn't a country club kind of guy. He was just a normal person from Bloomfield. It's really a tragic thing."

Eric Kelly

Eric Kelly was the "definition of an officer and a gentleman," his fellow officers said Sunday.

"He was fair with everyone. It didn't matter if it was the worst of the worst of the gangsters, he treated them with respect," said Detective Dan Sullivan, who worked with Kelly.

"I modeled my police work after him, because he taught me that if you respect someone, they'll give you respect in return."

Kelly joined the department in 1995 and spent years patrolling the East End on overnight shifts, co-workers said. He lived in Stanton Heights, and was on his way home when the call to Fairfield Street came in.

Kelly was the kind of officer who stepped in and helped, no matter the circumstances, Sullivan said.

"He lived in Garfield for awhile when we were working night turn, and if a call came in for his neighborhood, he was the first one to step out of his house and offer help," Sullivan said.

Kelly, who served in the Marines before joining the police bureau, leaves behind a wife, Marena, and daughters Tameka, 22, Autumn, 16, and Janelle, 11.

City officers guarded his home yesterday and asked reporters not to talk to neighbors or friends.

"I never saw him even lose his temper with anyone. He was always teaching me something, and just a few weeks ago we were talking about the old times in Zone 5," Sullivan said. "He was just an all-around good guy."

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